Atlantic Sun Champs Add Eight for 2014 Season
L-R: Samantha Koemans, Joelle d'Entremont, Bailey Dotsikas, Sope Akindoju, Melissa Carpenter, Jessica Shaffelburg, Rachel Burton and Haley Pigott
L-R: Samantha Koemans, Joelle d'Entremont, Bailey Dotsikas, Sope Akindoju, Melissa Carpenter, Jessica Shaffelburg, Rachel Burton and Haley Pigott

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After winning the 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournament title, the Jacksonville University women’s soccer team is poised to continue its success by adding eight players for the 2014 season.

The Dolphins have added forwards Joelle d’Entremont (Nova Scotia, Canada), Sope Akindoju (Nova Scotia, Canada), Haley Pigott (Fort Myers, FL) and Melissa Carpenter (Jacksonville, FL); midfielders Jessica Shaffelburg (Nova Scotia, Canada), Bailey Dotsikas (Ponte Vedra, FL) and Samantha Koemans (Rancho Cucamunga, CA), and defender Rachel Burton (Nova Scotia, Canada) to the 2014 roster.

“We are excited about this class not only for the incredible level of talent that they bring, but also because of the great character they bring to the Dolphin Soccer Family,” Head Coach Brian Copham said. “They are going to be great additions, not only on the field, but off the field as well.”

d’Entremont, a forward from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has been a top scorer for her club team, Dartmouth Football Club, the past four seasons. In addition to club soccer, she has also been an avid member of the Nova Scotia Provincial teams since 2009. In 2011 and 2012, d’Entremont competed on Team Atlantic at the Canadian National All-Stars Championships, and has been a member of the Atlantic National Training Center (NTC) Program since 2010. In 2013, she also competed with Team Nova Scotia in the Canada Games with fellow classmates Akindoju, Burton, and Shaffelburg.

Copham on Joelle: “Joelle is a dangerous wide player that creates a number of opportunities with her pace and skill.  She is a versatile player that can play anywhere on the flank and will be an asset by giving service, creating chances and working non-stop in the wide areas.”

Akindoju, a forward for the Nova Scotia Provincial team, has been a member of the Atlantic NTC Program for the past four years. She has competed with the Nova Scotia Provincial team since 2008 and led them to the Canada Games in 2013. Like d’Entremont, she competed in the Canadian All-Stars National Championships with Team Atlantic in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Akindoju led her club team, Halifax Dunbrack, to a bronze medal in the National Club Championship. At Halifax West High School, she led her team to two provincial championships in 2012 and 2013.

Copham on Sope: “Sope is a gifted forward that has the knack for scoring goals.  She combines athleticism, power and presence in front of goal.  She has played consistently at a high level and continues to score goals at every level and we look forward to her continuing that here as a Dolphin.”

Pigott, a forward and two-year captain at Evangelical Christian School, led the state of Florida in goals her junior year with 75. In 2013, she was named Lee County News-Press Player of the Year and All-Area First Team. Pigott has a career record of 167 goals for her high school team. She also plays club soccer with the VSI West Florida Flames and competes in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and also plays for the Florida State Olympic Development Program (ODP) team. In addition to soccer, Pigott also competes in track where she was twice a state qualifier in triple jump.

Copham says about Haley: “Haley is another athletic player that can play multiple positions.  She has scored an unparalleled amount of goals as a prep player, so we know she can compete as a forward.  She also has the athleticism and the engine to compete for any of our wide positions.”

Carpenter, a forward and four-year starter at Fletcher High School, led her team in goals and assists in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She took her team to district championships in 2010, 2011 and 2013, as well as a conference championship in 2013. Carpenter was named All-Conference her sophomore and junior years. She plays club soccer for Jacksonville FC where she led the team in goals for the 2012-2013 season.

Copham says of Melissa: “She is a player that has difference-making speed.  She plays mostly as a forward and uses her speed extremely well in the attacking half.  She is crafty with the ball and works hard to create goals.”

Shaffelburg, a midfielder for the Nova Scotia Provincial team, has been a member of the Atlantic NTC Program since 2011. In 2013 she helped Team Nova Scotia compete in the Canada Games, and in 2012 led her club team to a Provincial Championship. Like d’Entremont and Akindoju, Shaffelburg competed in the Canadian All-Stars National Championships with Team Atlantic in 2011 and 2012. In addition to soccer, she also competes in cross country and track and field, winning regional and provincial events in 2012 and 2013.

Copham on Jessica: “Jess is a very dynamic attacking center midfielder.  She is very dangerous creating with the ball, running into the attack, and controlling the rhythm of a game from her central position.”

Dotsikas, a four-year starter at Ponte Vedra High School, led her team to a Florida State Championship in 2012, as well as semifinal berths in her other three seasons. Dotsikas earned All-County honors all four years and was named Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Dotsikas plays club soccer for Creeks Kraze Krush and led them to the Florida State Cup semifinals in 2013.  She has also helped her club team in the Region 3 Premier League for the past two seasons.  In addition to soccer, she also competed in varsity lacrosse for two years, earning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.

Copham on Bailey: “Bailey is a local player we have known and watched over the past 5 years and she has developed into an outstanding soccer player.  She has an excellent ability to dribble in one-on-one situations, she delivers outstanding service of the ball, and she has a striking ability that makes her a scoring threat from anywhere.  She is a player who is incredibly comfortable with the ball at her feet which will fit well within our system.”

Koemans comes to the Dolphins after a standout prep soccer career for Pasadena High School. She also plays for the Legends FC soccer club in California.  She has helped lead her club team to multiple years in the National League, one of the most competitive leagues in girls’ club soccer.  She also helped her Legends FC team to a Regional Quarterfinal appearance in 2013.   

Copham on Samantha: “Sami is a crafty player on the ball.  She can play a midfield or forward position and create scoring chances from either position.  She has played at an extremely high level and we look forward to her bringing her vision, her attacking ability and her dynamic playmaking to Jacksonville.”

Burton, a defender for the Nova Scotia Provincial team, helped Team Nova Scotia compete at the Canada Games in 2013. She was also selected to Team Atlantic to compete in the Canadian All-Stars National Championships. Burton plays club soccer for Halifax Dunbrack and led her team to a bronze medal win at Canadian Club Nationals in 2013. With her former club, Halifax County United, Burton led her team to two provincial championships and two Club National Championship appearances. As a captain, Burton helped lead CP Allen High School to its first Provincial Division 1 Final in 2013. Rachel will join her older sister, Julia, a senior-to-be, for the 2014 season.

Copham on Rachel: “Rachel is a strong defensive player that brings a physical element to her defending.  She is excellent winning balls in the air and also organizes her defensive players around her.  She brings an attitude of physicality and competitiveness every day.”

“This 2014 class is an extremely talented class and also a very diverse class.  Many of the players can play multiple positions and all of them are excellent soccer players.  We look forward to them joining our group, competing, and contributing right away.  We are excited about the future of the program and our 2014 roster,” says Copham.

With the addition of these eight, Jacksonville’s roster breaks down like this for the 2014 campaign:

Florida (8) – Hannah Allerton (Ponte Vedra), Melissa Carpenter (Jacksonville), Bailey Dotsikas (Ponte Vedra), Miranda Fyfe (Boca Raton), Chawnee Gulick (Melbourne), Cheyenne Gulick (Melbourne), Haley Pigott (Fort Myers), Hannah Storandt (Jacksonville)
Canada (6) – Sope Akindoju (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Julia Burton (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Rachel Burton (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Joelle d’Entremont (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia), Ashley Poirier (Bedford, Nova Scotia),  Jessica Shaffelburg (Port Williams, Nova Scotia)
California (5) – Jessica Cataldo-Ramirez (Agoura Hills), Cassie Elmore (Murrieta), Samantha Koemans (Rancho Cucamonga), Sarah Sierra (Madera), Marie Weckhurst (West Hills)
Colorado (2) – Kaitlyn Bassett (Littleton), Lindsay Forrest (Lakewood)
Illinois (2) – Jill D’Amico (Naperville), Meghan Kelley (Naperville)
Georgia (1) – Hannah Hartman (Peachtree City)
New York (1) – Lauren Worden (Ronkonkoma)
Virginia (1) – Joy Grove (Midlothian)

The Dolphins are coming off their third NCAA Tournament berth in program history after a thrilling run to the Atlantic Sun Tournament title. After downing Mercer on the final day of the regular season to enter the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed, Jacksonville’s defense stepped up in a huge way. JU hung a 2-0 defeat on Kennesaw State in the A-Sun semifinals to avenge a double-overtime loss to the Owls two weeks earlier. Then faced with the task of stopping regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast on its home turf, the Dolphins fought to a 0-0 draw through 110 minutes before converting all five penalty kicks to earn their place in the field of 64.